Kelly Knew What He Was Getting In Cary Williams

Chip KellyLet the record show that one of Chip Kelly‘s first decisions as head coach of the Eagles was to sign Cary Williams to a three-year, $17 million contract.

The deal has upwards of $10.5 million in guaranteed cash (The $4.75 million base in 2014 reportedly becomes guaranteed on the fifth day of that league year.)

Kelly knew he wasn’t buying the services of a “yes” man  or a choir boy with that money. He was getting an edgy, hot-tempered corner that would essentially serve as the anti-Nnamdi (even if Williams said he modeled himself after the Raiders version of Asomugha at his introductory press conference). The team needed players in this secondary that wanted to hit people; they needed to extract the soft and fill in the holes with concrete.

The scene that Williams has been dropped into is foreign to him. He was part of a Ravens defense that was bubbling over with swagger and ferocity. A bully-your-opponent-into-submission mentality. Anyone who has watched the Pittsburgh-Baltimore slugfests over the past few seasons knows exactly what type of environment Williams is coming from. Now he is in Philadelphia, and here comes one of his old rivals — the  Patriots — riding into town and (allegedly) talking trash and taking cheap shots. And his coach disciplines him for trying to defend the team’s turf?

“I’m just used to a certain way of life, a certain way on the field,” said Williams. “It’s just different. It’s not necessarily a good different or a bad different, it’s just a different situation. Those guys I play with, whether it be on offense, defense or special teams, those are my brothers. Every time I strap up, that’s my family. When I see guys getting blocked in the back in practice, when we get told not to retaliate, be the bigger person, it’s hard because I come from a different background. Me just relaxing and being cool and letting those people do what they do to me and me being a doormat, that’s something I’m not used to.”

Williams wants the freedom to punch the Patriots (or whomever) in the mouth if there is a whiff of disrespect in the air. Kelly wants his players to show restrain. This seemingly puts coach and player at odds.

But only in respect to playing within the rules. Williams has had some self-control issues in the past, from shoving a referee during the Super Bowl to getting into it with DeSean Jackson last September. Kelly is dead-set against that kind of behavior. Didn’t tolerate it at Oregon. Doesn’t want it here. Beyond that, chances are Kelly likes how Williams is wired and agrees with his take on the state of the ‘D.’

It is true that no team has reason to fear this defense. If any team “needs the nasty” it’s this one. The head coach knows it. That’s why he brought in players with a more physical element to their game (Williams, Patrick Chung, Bradley Fletcher, Kenny Phillips), and it’s part of the reason why he has called on Brian Dawkins early on in his tenure.

“The spirit Brian Dawkins played with is what the Philadelphia Eagles are all about,” said Kelly at an event back in January. “I’m excited to have him as part of the program, and I’m going to lean on him a lot to tell our young guys exactly how the game is supposed to be played.”

We know that Dawkins has been communicating with Nate Allen. And he’s been delivering a consistent message in his talks with Williams.

“I feel like we need to establish a tenacity, a hard-nosed defense, something that is to be feared when it comes out there each and every week,”
said Williams. “I think Brian Dawkins alluded to it a couple times when I spoke to him, he’s talking about, ‘Bring that fear back here.’ ”

If memory serves, Dawkins rarely got in dust-ups after the whistle. He didn’t necessarily “throw the first punch,” as Williams and his Ravens teammates did, but he commanded enough respect around the league that the opponent knew not to raise his hands to begin with. And it was wise to show the proper courtesies when visiting South Philadelphia, or risk leaving here a changed man. That was the Eagles’ identity when Dawkins and Jeremiah Trotter roamed the middle. The same healthy fear existed when Buddy and Reggie and Jerome and Seth were in town.

Kelly is trying to chase down that legacy, not run from it.

“We definitely need somebody to instill that toughness, that feared Eagles way that B-Dawk and I have alluded to in several conversations,” said Williams. “We’ve got to bring that fear back.”

If Williams happens to be the man to lead that charge, Kelly will tolerate his corner’s dissenting opinions and less-than-polished behavior. After all, who has ever heard of a gentleman enforcer?

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  • GEagle

    we just had our first game…we play again in 3 days, Can the media not help themselves? Never thought I would see Tim n Sheil stoop so low and fabricate drama…SMH…
    Let’s write 16 articles this week on Sconces, and Cary trying to light a fire under the defense

    • Token

      So how did the defense look to you?

    • G_WallyHunter

      Stoop so low to fabricate the drama?
      You take way too many shots at the two people that are allowing us to have this wonderful site. Have some appreciation and respect for them, they aren’t “stooping so low”, in fact, they are the reporters that provide the least biased reports on issues like this and provide objective, actual facts whenever it’s necessary…
      I bet this will be the only article we see (After the first one, of course) unless he opens his mouth again

  • jabostick

    I like what Williams is talking about but I think the problem some people are having right now is that it’s all he’s done this far. Besides being partially unavailable to practice/play, the sconces comment (which was said partly in jest, I’m sure) and the “this is bigger than the season” comment turned people off. My initial impression is he’s a bit overdramatic and is maybe paying too much attention to perceptions…

    Referencing Dawkins is always tricky because he’s a once-a-generation player but his rep was earned and didn’t need a microphone to reinforce it. Dawkins may talked a ton on the field but he was professional and respectful off of it, and defused/deflected drama, he didn’t perpetuate it. And if Baltimore is Williams reference point, I viewed Ray Lewis the same way (though I admittedly don’t follow them nearly as much).

    Anyway, I’m in the ‘be about it, don’t talk about it’ stage with him right now. In his defense, that’s hard to do in this day and age and at this stage of the season but I just want to see him show it. (He’s also coming into a fanbase that’s gun shy/suspicious on FA CB’s as well haha)

    • Dutch

      People that follow the eagles are often turned off by the truth about their team. Williams mouth is a prayer book on his issue. In the NFL you have to take and make other teams respect you, it’s not given on consideration. The poor showing Friday is not Williams fault but he’s embarrassed as any man playing on that defense should be after being plastered by the Patriots.

      The Eagles were easy victims for 50 points had Brady stepped on the gas. You can not prove the Eagles are a better tackling secondary based on the results from Friday night, it’s all talk.

      • Token

        I dont think anyone has a problem with the general message.

        The problem is that to say stuff like this you have to be a good player that backs it up on the field. Williams is a awful player. And hes barely seen the field. Hes been too busy picking out sconces. It just comes off as ridiculous.

        • jabostick

          Yeah, I wasn’t even all that bothered by the sconces business. When I heard I thought, if it were me, I’d be getting the extra reps on a new team with a new staff (where he can help install this philosophy he’s so enamoured with) but I understood where he was coming from. Mostly it just made for an easy joke.

          The “this is bigger than the season” comment I thought came off really poorly. Then, with his lack of field time and that he seems to be the first one in front of the mic (which is likely the media’s fault not his, to be fair) I just want him to be DOING more, not saying as much.

          • Token

            He is just yet ANOTHER lesson in why free agency generally sucks. He got his pay day and now he can just float along. The fact that he was never good to begin with just makes it worse. This team really needs to start drafting better so there arent tons of holes to try and fill with FAs.

          • Andy124

            “The “this is bigger than the season” comment ”
            I think he just used the word “supercedes” incorrectly. He was actually really fair in his comments I thought. He pointed out several times how he’s done bad things himself.

          • jabostick

            That is fair enough. Don’t mean to fault a guy for being honest either but, given everything else, he’s making me a bit leery. He promotes himself as a ‘gamer’, though, so hopefully once the season starts we can get back to game analysis and not interview analysis.

        • Dutch

          I like Williams attitude there is not another on the Team like his, but it was the Eagles who signed a noted backup on a championship team to come in here as the lead Defensive Back.

          Let’s not hold Williams to higher standards than he’d proven himself to be, and that’s as a back up forced into action and that starting role because of an injury to Webb the preferred starter with the Ravens.

          On principle, Williams has the attitude you want of a warrior going into battle to save the Queen. I want linebackers anchoring my defense who think like Williams does.

          This is one reason receivers have no fear crossing the Eagles middle

      • G_WallyHunter

        All good points and agreed, we need that D back. But hey, let’s wait to make these major assumptions until at least the Jets game, give them a few games.

      • Stephen Stempo

        Who is Cary Williams? is my question.

        oh yeah, no one.

        • #7


  • Dutch

    Chip Kelly is breeding Beotches…….. point blank. Turning the other cheek is the mentality of Den Mothers and Pastors not NFL Defensive personnel. That defense beyond the Defensive Line is as thin and timid as rice paper in a rain storm.

    Chip Kelly is going to eventually lose that locker room it’s only a matter of time. I don’t understand any article about this easy back over defense and prior Eagles Defense like those anchored by Reggie White and Jerome Brown, The day of terrifying Eagles defenders is a long in the past and Dallas and the Giants are just waiting to come into the Linc and turn it into Comedy Central.

    The Eagles can’t compete with just 4 or 5 Defensive Linemen and zero behind them.

    • Token

      Kelly seems to wishy washy for my tastes thus far. Has he really taken a hard stance on anything to this point? He just doesnt seem like he commands respect and attention. Maybe its different in the locker room who knows.

      • Stephen Stempo

        Yeah it is different, sounds like plain old confirmation bias.

    • #7

      I hope that’s not the case..

    • Stephen Stempo

      hello strawman!

  • JofreyRice

    Yeah…I dunno. The guy’s not a particularly physical hitter on the field, just a fundamentally sound tackler, really. So is his “toughness” all about jawing and fighting after the whistle? I’d rather have a guy that brings the hammer to stop ballcarriers and end plays, not possibly get tossed out of the game for fighting after he form tackles someone.

    You really need the safeties and linebackers to set this tone, not the cornerback. Chung is physical, but I don’t think I’d call him a hammer. Supposedly they have been running a lot of 3-3-5 looks with Chung acting as a LB, down in the slot. I don’t like his coverage there, but perhaps he can make some hits that will begin to change the tone of the d.

    • anon

      He didn’t have to be the hitter on the field, he had Lewis, Suggs, Pollard, etc. He wasn’t vocal (aside from shit talking, etc.) or a leader, but he didn’t have to be. But maybe he and chip can work together and he can take on that leadership role (which will also require him to cut out the BS). He and Chung need to work with the rest of the secondary / d-line and teach them how to tackle. Earl Wolff made some good plays as well, hopefully he can be part of that as well. I think the young guys need to hear what Cary has to say, i’m sure they don’t want to be doormats either, but that’s how you have to feel after friday.

      • JofreyRice

        Oh no doubt. What I’m saying is, I’m all for the defense being tougher, but I don’t think it’s going to be Williams’ play that sets the tone. The safeties & LB’s need to step up.

      • Stephen Stempo

        It’d be nice if Williams actually, you know, PLAYED instead of skipping camps and sitting out with injuries all pre-season. You can talk about leadership all you want but unless he’s going to lead from an easy-chair on the side-lines while drinking mojito’s he needs to shut up and show up.

    • G_WallyHunter

      RE: Earl Thomas, pick 14 (it just had to be one pick before BG)
      Just imagine the secondary had Andy and co made the correct decision..
      I know I know it’s been imagined hundreds of times by now. I shouldn’t even bring it up

      • Wilbert M.

        Thomas did not get picked before Graham. The Eagles traded up to #13. I was jumping up and down celebrating because (like everyone else) I was sure we were picking Thomas. But, Andy had to prove he was smarter than everyone else and he took Graham.

  • Explorer51

    Regarding the defense on Friday night…yeah, they looked bad but, c’mon, a little perspective…it was one freakin’game; in fact, the 1st string defense was only in for a few series. If two of our proven best defensive players (Fletcher Cox and DeMeco Ryans) didn’t get pushed out of their lanes on that first play, who’s to say that the tenor of the game doesn’t change? Yes, there is work to do and there isn’t enough talent but, remember, Andy Reid left a pretty bare cupboard on defense thanks to horrific drafting and FA signings. Patience folks, patience…for this season and maybe next, enjoy the pinball offense and improved special teams. In the meantime, how about making a trade offer for ex-Oregon Duck Jairus Byrd who is still unsigned?

    • defroe81

      i wish…

  • #7

    I like that Williams is trying to bring some heart and toughness to this defense, but I don’t think he is a good enough player to do so and back up the talk unfortunately.

    Kudos to him for at least trying.

  • #7

    Someone needs to light a fire under that cupcake Nate Allen. Constantly missing tackles and this guy never lays the wood on anyone.

  • EaglePete

    Kelly is soft and possibly not respected/losing the locker room? Cmon, one preseason game, thats so over the top. Nobody disagrees that the D is terrible but we kind of knew that was coming, or should have. Id say the only one possibly lost in that equation is Davis. I have to say I was laughing watching them run the ball for that first score, not even thinking about passing. Then the Blount run was completely comical, man did Graham look bad. First miss was completely burned but the second time, oh man was that funny looking. Other defender even forces him back inside then Graham over plays it again haha. I could not believe a Dback was not quick enough to get to him, not like hes a lightning fast RB. I like that Williams is at least trying to get the team to even think about some nastiness, its a first step and Im glad a player is saying it. Sometimes the coaches can preach it all day long but it takes the horses to get the mind set.

    • G_WallyHunter

      Ya, agreed.. I’m sick of reading all of these comments about the D completely sucking that come from THE SAME PEOPLE who commented on the huge system changes and the time it will take to adapt to personnel, then they complain after one preseason game lol, talk about being hypocritical…
      This is why I say give it until at the very least the Jets game or week 1 before hinting to any sort of dooming, ultimatum assumptions… it’s ridiculously stupid and ignorant..

      • Dutch

        It’s not ignorant, it’s what was on display Friday. The Eagles defense isn’t ish, and isn’t going to be ish as it wasn’t over the last 5 years.

        This is not a stunning development.

        Stop seeing a failed effort through rose colored glasses. There are no linebackers today as there weren’t any over the last few years, and the back end defenders are the same and worse than they’ve been in recent memory. Those of you that don’t see this are in complete denial. And with a coach preaching turning the other cheek it’s set up for total disaster and embarrassment.

    • Dutch

      What other coach in the NFL promotes turning the other cheek, and this isn’t the first issue where Chip Kelly hasn’t shown decisive strong leadership. If you don’t have Williams back now who else will he abandon later?

      You think Belicheck tells his players no to be intimidating and imposing on the opposition? Belicheck isn’t the kind of coach that stands by and sees his defensive players popped in the mouth without retaliation, and he’s not allowing late hits on Brady without retribution……. I don’t see where some of you understand the true nature of a Football game. Rule One, you don’t let opponents push you around and rule 2, to get the upper hand all things are legal if you’re not caught.

      • JofreyRice

        Didn’t Belichick agree with Kelly to throw out players that were fighting during the scrimmages?

        • Stephen Stempo

          SHHHHH! don’t ruin the narrative dutch is on a roll.

        • Dutch

          Belicheck will cheap, rob and steal if given an opportunity to win. He’s not in this to be competitive he’s here strictly to win. Belicheck has proven who he is and what winning at all cost means to him. Belicheck challenged an incomplete pass in a preseason game when his backups were in the game.

          Belecheck didn’t learn being passive from Parcels.

          • JofreyRice

            This is all based on the assumption that Kelly is “passive” and is telling his players not to be “intimidating and imposing on the opposition” because he benched Williams for fighting during a scrimmage–something that BOTH Belichick & Kelly agreed to beforehand!

            People love Kelly’s quote “big people beat up little people”. I’m pretty sure he understands that football is a violent game. Look for the nuance here, Dutch.

          • A Big Butt and a Smile

            “Belicheck challenged an incomplete pass in a preseason game when his backups were in the game.”

            And that’s all you need to know about Belicheck.

      • Stephen Stempo

        It’s mr. strawman again. So if you can point to me where Chip Kelly says “turn the other cheek” I will personally mail you a check for 500 dollars.

        I think you mean that Chip Kelly doesn’t want people shoving referees and possibly getting thrown out of games and costing the team major yards in penalties, but that doesn’t fit your argument so you just make stuff up.

        I’m glad williams thinks he’s going to be a starter without actually, you know, playing all pre-season. Maybe we could send a tough message and demote his ass to third string until he does something football related,

        • Dutch

          Stop being stupid………….. Bottom line Kelly is breeding Beotches in Phila especially on that defense. The players, and well paid players are saying the very same thing.

          • Stephen Stempo

            hold on. You’re telling me to “stop being stupid.”? Wow. I’m going to go google irony. This post should be the first hit.

          • Stephen Stempo

            and by “well payed players” You mean Cary Williams? Who is that again?

  • ojdiddoit

    Please do it on the field first,Dawk,Wes,Andre all delivered it with flashings Kelly green delivering thumping messages to opponets,not with flashy words from a player who has yet to deliver a blow in a eagle uniform

  • JamesDDl

    Williams is lame –

    “I’ll show them who’s boss, I’ll get myself thrown out of practice even though my coach warned me not to and even though I really need the work and I haven’t spent anywhere near enough time on learning my new job ”

    “Oh and on second thought, because I need to explain my stupid actions without looking like a jerk, I’ll embarrass the rest of my teammates by calling them weak, soft wimps – and I’ll make up some BS that I did it all on purpose to set the right tone and motivate those teammates that I just threw under the bus, because that’s how you influence your teammates to do better ”
    “Oh and I realize that actions always speak louder than words and as I’ve said many times, one of these days when I’m good and ready, I’m going to really show everybody that I’m the biggest baddest corner in the league. I am, you mark my words, one of these days I will . . .

  • Warhound

    And Andre “Dirty” Waters and Wes Hopkins….

  • Costa Rica

    How will the defense turn out this year? One thing’s for certain, you can’t judge the D on one preseason game. The defending Super Bowl champs gave up 35 and 31 points in the preseason and incidentally lost to the Eagles during the regular season.